David Hurrion’s January Tips

David Hurrion’s January Tips

Award winning Garden writer David Hurrion’s top tips for January.

  • New Year is the time to reflect on the successes and failures in your garden. Think about the position of shrubs and border plants – have they grown too large in their current position and can they be moved to the back of a border? Look at the size of your beds and borders – are there enough plants to fill them and cover the soil during the summer. You might consider lifting and dividing some of your perennials to make more plants to fill the space. And if your borders are overflowing with too many plants, you may want to make them larger by cutting back further into the lawn or making an entirely new flower bed.
  • Is your garden lacking interest in the depths of winter? There are lots of winter-flowering plants – such as this Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ – that will cheer up the darkest days. Many are scented, so make sure that you plant some of them close to the house where you can enjoy and smell them.
  • Avoid walking on your lawn during icy weather as the weight of your steps will snap and crush the frozen grass. This will then lead to brown patches on the lawn and may promote fungal disease problems.
  • Check plants that you are overwintering the greenhouse or conservatory, picking off any yellow or brown leaves. Open vents, windows and doors on mild, sunny days to allow fresh air to circulate and reduce the risk of grey mould and mildew.
  • Float a plastic ball in the water of garden ponds to prevent the surface from freezing solid in cold weather. This will allow oxygen to diffuse into the water for fish, amphibians and other pondlife, and prevent toxic gases building up under the ice.
  • Take the opportunity to clean garden furniture. Use warm water and detergent to scrub the dirt from plastic and rattan furniture, then rinse off. Wooden furniture can be lightly rubbed with fine wire wool and warm water to lift dirt from the grain, then apply an outdoor furniture oil with an old cloth.
  • Clean out garden sheds and the space under benches in greenhouse, discarding or recycling unused items, sweeping out the dirt, and tidying tools and equipment so that they’re easy to find as you need them during the coming growing season.
  • Cover bare soil in vegetable plots with a layer of black polythene to prevent cold winter rain washing out nutrients, suppress the growth of weeds, and start the slow process of warming the earth ready for sowing seeds in early spring.

See the January issue of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine filled with inspiring ideas for your garden as well as reminders of other jobs to do this month.